Tuesday, August 16, 1977

Berkowitz Lawyer Seeking to Pull Out of Case After Reported Attempt to Sell Tapes of His Client

A Brooklyn lawyer who is said to have tried to sell the taped memoirs of David Berkowitz, the accused .44-caliber killer to two newspapers asked a Criminal Court judge yesterday to relieve him as Mr. B’s attorney.

“If I am guilty of anything,” Mr. Peltz said, “it is my failure to foresee that anyone who became involved with this case would be the subject of media notoriety.”

(Meaning that he overreached and realized that he was now in big trouble. Better to fly under the radar.)

Mr. Peltz, who obtained a document signed by Mr. B giving him power of attorney and full title to literary and media memoir rights, said he “unequivocally and unconditionally relinquished all fees, earnings or agent commissions which have accrued or may inure from this case.”

“I want no part of it,” he said, “for to do otherwise would contribute to what I think is an unwarranted view of the profession and myself.”

Peltz said that the 6 hours of tapes had been turned over to a “respected” lawyer who he would not name.

Mr. Peltz, who is facing disbarment proceedings in Brooklyn arising from his conviction and prison sentence seven years ago in a Federal securities case, appeared to be making a conciliatory gesture to the bar.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District said yesterday that Mr. P’s felony conviction was referred to the Bar Association of New York in 1972, but authorities of the bar association said yesterday that a preliminary record check disclosed no receipt of the case. Disbarment in New York State is automatic if a defendant’s Federal felony conviction is also a felony under state law. (Mr. P’s conspiracy felony is a misdemeanor under state law so his disbarment in discretionary.)

Mr. Peltz has given a number of explanations as to how he came into the Son of Sam case: an unidentified person telephoned him, a member of the family hired him, a message was left on his answering machine, and, finally, that after meeting Mr. B for the first time last Thursday, he was retained by the defendant himself.

Excerpt from Marcia Chambers Aug 16, 1977 New York Times

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